Recruiters use 7.4 seconds to check your résumé

  • Post published:18/05/2022
  • Reading time:4 mins read

Resume writingThe résumé is a two-page sales pitch document. The purpose: To get you an interview. And no, the résumé is not to get you a job. A myth?

Like anything else in our daily lives, fashion keeps changing. Look back 10 or 20 years and notice how cars, buildings, clothing, hairstyle, and so on, looked like back then. Even the once-popular font Times New Roman is out.

Difference between a CV and a résumé

Same same but different is what we often say in Asia when two things seem similar but are still different in some ways. So with the CV and résumé.

Résumé is a French word that comes from the verb resumer, which means to sum up. In the context of CV and résumé writing, we say the résumé is a summary of the CV.

The CV from Curriculum Vitae translated to English means: Course of Life.

The CV is the document you keep for yourself, and from which you copy the relevant information and paste on to a two-page résumé. That way, the résumé becomes a summary of your CV.

Recruiters use 7.4 seconds to check your résumé

Reviewing resumeThe Recruiting Myth that recruiters use 6 seconds cannot be confirmed by any study that I know of.

As so often you read articles saying “recent research suggests” – but have you ever been given the reference to such study? Not me!

The only research paper that I can find is from The Ladders’ study in 2018 where they were using eye-tracking software. They found that recruiters can make up their minds about a job candidate in only 7.4 seconds! Click here for the study.

In the short time that recruiters spend with a résumé, the study showed recruiters will look at your name, current title, company, start and end dates. Then to recent previous title and company, previous position start and end dates, and education.

Worst performing résumés

The Ladders’ study concluded that the worst-performing résumés shared these issues:

  • Cluttered look and feel, characterized by long sentences, multiple columns, and very little white space.
  • Poor layout that did not draw the eye down the page (i.e. little use of section/job headers to catch the eye)
  • Evidence of keyword stuffing—while this strategy can help with automated resume screening, candidates should keep in mind that a successful resume will ultimately have to be read by a real person. As such, keywords should be presented in context.

Tom Sorensen

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years of experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.